Buying or Selling Latest 2022 NFL Buzz Entering Draft Week

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2022

Buying or Selling Latest 2022 NFL Buzz Entering Draft Week

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The 2022 NFL draft is Thursday. As all 32 teams try to create an advantage for themselves, the rumor mill is flying.

    Especially here in draft week itself, new reports and rumors are emerging every day. Some whispers are true, many are plausible and others are downright lies.

    Keeping up with the latest information can be a challenge, given the variety of reputable sources who are sharing the latest buzz. But don't worry, folks, we've got you covered.

    We're parsing through recent rumors to determine what's believable, forgettable and somewhere in between.

Eagles Likely to Trade Up?

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Since dealing Carson Wentz last February, the Philadelphia Eagles have made several moves in 2022's opening round. Trades with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints have ultimately landed the Eagles with the 15th and 18th picks in Thursday's draft.

    But that might not be where Philly stays.

    "The expectation going into the first round is that the Eagles won't pick at their current slots," Pro Football Network's Mike Kaye said.

    Considering how often Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has shifted in the first round, why wouldn't this be believable?

    Since 2016, Philly has only not moved up or down in the 2020 draft. Armed with an extra third-round choiceand two more fifth-round selections as filler, for that matterthe Eagles absolutely could have another first-round trade or two on the horizon.

    Verdict: Buy

Jets Sold on Kayvon Thibodeaux After Visit?

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Kayvon Thibodeaux, fair or not, has been tagged with the dreaded "character" red flag. For example, the New York Giants are reportedly "turned off" by his personality.

    But the other team in MetLife Stadium, the New York Jets, may have reached a different conclusion.

    NFL Network's Peter Schrager said he heard Thibodeaux's first in-person visit with the Jets "went awesome." The edge-rusher from Oregon reportedly had a "spectacular" day, telling the Jets he's a team-first player who also wants to be individually great.

    Whether they actually select him is a question only Thursday night can answer, of course. But the idea Thibodeaux's predraft visit sold the Jets on him is entirely believable.

    Based on the team's immense need at the position, Thibodeaux should be a leading candidate at No. 4 for the Jets.

    Verdict: Buy

Pickett-or-Bust for Pitt?

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    The entire NFL world knows the Pittsburgh Steelers need a quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger retired, and neither Mason Rudolph nor free-agent signing Mitchell Trubisky is a long-term lock.

    This cycle, the main prospects are Liberty's Malik Willis, Pitt's Kenny Pickett, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and Ole Miss' Matt Corral. In all likelihood, at least one of those signal-callers will be available when the Steelers are on the clock at No. 20 overall.

    But are they actually only targeting one of them?

    "It might just be a late draft-season smokescreen," ESPN's Matt Miller said, "but there is a lot of chatter about the Steelers not being sold on quarterbacks other than Pitt's Kenny Pickett in this class."

    Just as Miller noted, this feels like misdirection. Pittsburgh has hosted all four on predraft visits in April, along with North Carolina's Sam Howell and Nevada's Carson Strong. It's highly improbable the Steelers are solely focused on Pickett.

    Verdict: Sell

Panthers Resigned to Drafting QB?

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    Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    Similar to the Steelers, the Carolina Panthers are facing the reality of needing a QB and it being unmistakably clear. No matter how much Carolina tries to posture that several positions are in play, numerous teams around the NFL won't believe it.

    According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, "Other teams are convinced they'll swallow hard and take a quarterback."

    Consider us a part of that crowd, too.

    Sam Darnold could open the season as the starter, but 2022 is probably a make-or-break year for Carolina coach Matt Rhule. He should be pounding the tablemetaphorically but also literally, if necessaryto have a first-round rookie in the QB room.

    Verdict: Buy

Texans Not Expecting Trade-Up Calls?

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Yes, the rare straight-from-an-executive rumor.

    In a recent press conference, Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio said he's not optimistic about interest in the team's current spot at third overall.

    "The reality is probably very few teams are going to want to come up to No. 3, just being honest."

    From the skeptical side, this could be Caserio attempting to generate a little more interest in Houston's first of two Day 1 picks. However, the consensus opinion seems to be that 2022 has a handful of high-end talents but is thin on truly elite prospects. Caserio's comment fits logically with that belief, too.

    Yes, expect the Texans to receive some cursory, "due diligence" type of calls on Thursday night.

    But given the price it would cost to swap with Houston while knowing the Giants are a key trade-down candidate at either fifth or seventh, the second-year GM is probably sharing the truth.

    Verdict: Buy

Jameson Williams Viewed as Cornerstone?

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    One of college football's top breakout players in 2021, Alabama wideout Jameson Williams is a definite first-round prospect even as he recovers from a torn left ACL. He played a key role in the Crimson Tide reaching the national championship, catching 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns.

    According to reporter Jordan Schultz, multiple teams view Williams "as a bona fide star, perennial Pro Bowler and franchise cornerstone."

    Star? Sure. Pro Bowler? Certainly. Franchise cornerstone? Not so much.

    This offseason alone has shown the danger of building around a receiver. More than a handful of big-name wideoutsmost notably Davante Adams and Deebo Samuelhave requested trades and sought record-breaking contracts for the position. This is becoming a highly volatile discussion for the future.

    On his rookie deal, Williams could be a major contributor. To consider him a cornerstone, however, is an acknowledgment of expecting to pay him $30-plus million per season in a half-decade.

    That's a discussion for 2026, not 2022.

    Verdict: Sell

Matt Corral Sneaking into Round 1?

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    Throughout the predraft process, Willis and Pickett have seemingly alternated the QB1 title, with Ridder and Corral behind them.

    Ridder recently took his moment in the spotlight as the buzzy prospect, so naturally it's Corral's turn now.

    "Corral is building late momentum, and more and more teams feel he could end up in the top 32," Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline reported of the Ole Miss product.

    On one hand, a QB's perceived stock can be exaggerated around the end of a draft cycle for numerous reasons. Corral, though, has hovered in the Day 1/2 range. "Late momentum" certainly may be enough for Corral to hear his name on Thursday.

    Verdict: Buy

Teams Eyeing No. 32 for QB?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Last year, the Detroit Lions sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in a blockbuster deal. Los Angeles wanted an upgrade at QBand the trade worked out brilliantlybut it cost a package of first-round picks that included the No. 32 overall choice in 2022.

    Interestingly enough, that exact selection could be a prime position for another team in need of a franchise quarterback.

    "I've been repeatedly told to pay close attention to the Lions with the No. 32 pick next week," ESPN's Jordan Reid said. "That spot has been circled as a trade-up spot for teams looking to take a swing on a quarterback who falls to the back end of the first round."

    In short: Undoubtedly.

    The final spot of the opening round is doubly important. Not only is it the least expensive first-round pick to acquire, but it's also the last opportunity to add a rookie with a fifth-year team option. Everyone else is limited to a four-year rookie contract.

    Plus, since the Lions are in the beginning stages of a rebuild, they'll be interested in extra draft capital at the right price.

    Verdict: Buy